Thursday, October 11, 2012

The NCMSS painting club

The weekend following the NOVA Open, I participated in the annual art show for the National Capital Military Soldier Society (NCMSS), held in Annandale, Virginia.  NCMSS is a model/figure-painting club that has a long history in the region, extending over 50 years.  I joined the club about two years ago, and while their membership is grounded in historical and military figures, more so than fantasy/sci-fi/alternative, they do welcome the latter.  That said, the average age of the group is probably well over the mid-fifties, so the fantasy-oriented painters still tend to get some odd or bemused looks, or the occasional curmudgeonly reference of "their little, green spacemen from the planet, Zork, or whatever".  All said in fun and good cheer, mind you.  I think.

NCMSS holds monthly painting meetups on Saturdays, and they hold monthly club meetings on a Tuesday or Wednesday night.  I try to attend both meetings as much as I can.  The painting meet-up is a great opportunity to learn from some very expert painters and pick their brains about techniques, styles, supplies/suppliers, events, the history/evolution of the hobby, etc.  The mixed bag of historical/military interests alongside the fantasy interests does serve both flavors of the hobby well, I think, in terms of generating interest in each other.  Independently, I have developed more interest in history over the last several years, so I'm fascinated with the breadth and depth of knowledge these guys offer.

The weeknight club meetings are another venue to cross-pollinate the two sides of the hobby.  They feature a presentation by one of the club members, followed by a "Parade Ground" review of everyone's current or finished projects and items of interest (magazines, trip memorabilia, historical artifacts, etc.).  We enjoyed a 3-part series of presentations that described food and rations in the military, including logistics and preparation methods throughout history.  The very generous presenter even brought samples for everyone to try, some of which were pretty exotic, like kangaroo tacos and curried boa constrictor.  Another member showed a presentation of his trip to China to see the Terracotta Army, and another presenter described the sub-niche hobby of "flats", miniature figures that are two-and-a-half-dimensional reliefs.

For my part, I plan to show a presentation of my experiment in the fantasy color palette, which I described a few posts ago.  I also plan to show maybe a 2-part series of the history and development of the manufacturers for fantasy/sci-fi figures.  These projects are background projects in the midst of everything else I have going on, so it's hard to say when I'll actually present these topics!  Having a blog helps, since I have another venue to present the topics, so that may motivate me to produce the presentations sooner rather than later.  As a matter of fact, when I posted the color palette blog entry, I had in mind the ulterior motive to build content for my future NCMSS presentation.

Next up:  What I actually started to write about -- the NCMSS annual art show!

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